If you find yourself deep in the heart of Kyoto’s CBD/shopping district and feel the need for a breath of cultural air  – make a B-line directly to Rokkaku-do (on Rokkaku dori –  just east of Karasuma and south of Sanjo).  The temple is situated on the very spot believed to be the birthplace of Ikebana and is named for the unusual shape of its hexagonal temple – Rokku meaning six.

It’s a small but cheery temple – with many jizou (childlike statues) dressed in colourful clothing and hats to keep the popular soul “guides” comfortable and warm on their journeys flitting between earth and the spirit world.

The temple grounds also provide the weary shopper with a little bit of nature ! Swans and large koi (carp) share  a large pond behind the main structure – and for some reason the place is always swarming with pigeons who scamper under the weeping willow tied with paper omukuji (prayers and wishes). My guess is that someone is feeding them!

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